May 30, 2019 4:37 pm
Updated: June 13, 2019 4:38 pm

Man arrested after rushing boarding ramp, damaging WestJet plane at Edmonton airport

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UPDATE: On June 13, 2019, RCMP said 41-year-old Joel Edmund Garland, of Edmonton, was charged with mischief over $5,000, endangering the safety of an aircraft and uttering threats. Garland is scheduled to appear in court on June 27.

A 41-year-old man is facing charges after he prematurely tried to board his flight and damaged the plane at the Edmonton International Airport.

The incident happened on Wednesday at around 3:30 p.m.

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Police said the breach of security happened when a man didn’t wait for authorization to board his flight and instead ran down the boarding ramp and onto the WestJet plane.

READ MORE: Edmonton man charged after bomb threat at EIA turns out to be a hoax

The flight crew was on the aircraft, in the process of completing their pre-flight briefings. No other passengers were on the plane yet.

According to RCMP, the man uttered threats to the crew who, fearing for their safety, left the plane.

The man damaged the door on the plane before police arrived and took him into custody.

RCMP said a 41-year-old man is in police custody and charges are pending.

In an emailed statement on Thursday, WestJet said in the interest of the safety of guests and crew, flight 339 — from Edmonton to Comox — was cancelled before departure “due to an incident involving an unruly guest.”

The airline said the subsequent flight from Comox back to Edmonton was also cancelled.

“We apologize for any inconvenience these cancellations may have caused our guests but safety is always our top priority,” WestJet said. “All guests were provided re-accommodation options through either Calgary, Vancouver or on Thursday’s direct flights from Comox and Edmonton.”

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